NFL week 17 is normally filled with all sorts of playoff scenarios. However, this year’s drama will be minimal as there are only a handful of different spots that need to be ironed out.
One of the most important will be the winner of the NFC East where the Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to clinch…if they can beat the New York Giants.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Date: Sunday, December 29th
Why does it feel like the Giants will make this interesting?
The Eagles are coming off an impressive performance last Sunday where they turned aside the Dallas Cowboys 17-9 and put themselves in the driver’s seat to win the NFC East Division. If they win this game, they’re going to the playoffs.
While the Eagles are coming off one of their better games of the season, it’s hard to ignore how they were playing going into that contest. They had lost to Miami, required overtime to beat the New York Giants at home and then needed a last-second touchdown to edge past the Washington Redskins on the road.
We’ve seen more bad than good from this Eagles team in the last month.
The Giants offense has played well in the last two weeks, scoring a total of 77 points in back-to-back wins. They’re still a very flawed team – especially on defense – but it just feels like they’re more than capable of making the Eagles sweat here.
Again, the Eagles barely beat the Giants at home just a few weeks ago. Now that the Giants are at home, I think the Eagles win the game, but I don’t expect them to cover the 4.5 points.
Pick: Giants +4.5
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – NFL Week 17
Date: Sunday, December 29th
The Seahawks went into San Francisco and beat the 49ers 27-24 in overtime back in Week 10. In that game, the 49ers suffered some key injuries as tight end George Kittle and wideout Emmanuel Sanders weren’t able to finish the game.
Now they’ll have a shot at revenge as it’s the Seahawks who enter this contest banged up.
The Seahawks have lost their top three running backs for the season as Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and C.J. Prosise are all now out of the year. Seattle is in a tight spot as the only healthy back they have is rookie sixth-round pick, Travis Homer.
He has eight carries on the year; the other three guys compiled 1,672 rushing yards and 14 total touchdowns on the year. The Seahawks have the third-most rushing attempts on the season, so these are massive losses.
Even if they sign former Seahawks legend Marshawn Lynch and bring him back out of retirement, the team will still miss the assets they had. Keep in mind that left tackle Duane Brown is also out and the defense could be without key starters Jadeveon Clowney, Quandre Diggs, and Shaq Griffin.
This is an important contest as the No. 1 seed in the NFC is on the line for the 49ers and possibly the Seahawks. At any rate, the loser of this game will drop to No. 5 in the NFC and miss out on the home-field advantage, so this contest is quite important.
I’m expecting the 49ers to get their revenge in this spot and lock up the No. 1 seed in the conference. The Seahawks are just too banged up right now.
Pick: 49ers -3
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys – NFL Week 17
Date: Sunday, December 29th
The Cowboys have been a hot mess this season but this just feels like one game that they can get right. The Redskins have had a spark of optimism in recent weeks as Dwayne Haskins has stepped into the lineup and given this team a chance.
He’s now out for Week 17, which means Case Keenum will now be under center. Keenum actually started against the Cowboys in the first meeting between the teams when the Cowboys won 31-21.
He’s been riding the pine for most of the year but came in last week and went 16-of-22 for 158 yards and a touchdown.
This just feels like a spot where the Cowboys end their season on a high note. They’ve struggled against quality teams this year but the Redskins are not in that realm. The Cowboys do have the league’s top offense and I would expect them to flex their muscle here.
A week after ignoring Ezekiel Elliott in a one-score game (just 13 carries compared to 44 pass attempts), I’d expect him to get fed. The Redskins have the league’s fourth-worst run defense, giving up 141.1 rushing yards per game.
If Zeke gets going, the Cowboys will win this one in a laugher. They are 10-4 in the last 14 games when he has 20 carries or more.
Pick: Cowboys -10.5
Other Things To Watch This Week
Peach Bowl: No. 4 Oklahoma vs No. 1 LSU – The Tigers are a massive 13-point favorite in this game as they’re expected to roll the Sooners. Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, the Tigers are favored to win the College Football Playoff.
Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 Clemson vs No. 2 Ohio State – One of the most highly anticipated matchups of the bowl season is upon us. The Tigers find themselves as a two-point favorite over Ohio State as they’re trying to prove that they’re for real after cutting through a soft schedule.
Cotton Bowl: No. 17 Memphis vs No. 10 Penn State – The Penn State Nittany Lions are a touchdown favorite in the Cotton Bowl as they take on the Tigers. Memphis has had a fairly strong season, going 12-1, but they’ll be without head coach Mike Norvell, who left to take over the Florida State football program.
See you same time next week when we start off the week with our Best Bets Of The Week!
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